Leonardo delivered the first two M-345 jet trainer aircraft to the Italian Air Force, which to-date has ordered 18 units from a total requirement for up to 45 aircraft. The new type of jet trainer aircraft, designated T-345A by the Italian Air Force, will gradually replace the 137 MB-339s which have been in service since 1982. M-345 jet trainer aircraft Marco Zoff, Leonardo Aircraft Managing Director, said “Building on our heritage and expertise in jet trainers, the M-345 will allow our customers to achieve a significant improvement in training effectiveness while at the same time reducing operating costs. This first delivery to the Italian Air Force is a key milestone, the result of a longstanding and productive team working closely together with the operator.” The new M-345 jet trainer aircraft, designed to meet basic and basic-advanced training requirements, will complement the in-service M-346, which is used for advanced pilot training. Integrated training system Leonardo’s integrated training system developed around the M-345 platform is representative of the company’s technological leadership in training pilots to fly current and future generation aircraft. The system benefits from experience with, and technology developed for, the M-346, which includes a ‘Live Virtual Constructive’ capability. This allows aircraft which are flying live training missions to incorporate simulated ‘friend’ or ‘foe’ elements into scenarios, allowing the pilot to be exposed to the full range of possible operational situations. M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer) The new M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer) reduces the time required for air forces to train pilots The M-345 is a high-performance aircraft which supports a pilot’s transition from basic trainers to latest-generation fighters. The Italian Air Force’s acquisition of the new aircraft is an important step forward in the modernisation of its fleet, with the M-345 replacing the MB-339A in Air Force’s second and third military pilot training phases. The M-345 has also been chosen as the new aircraft of the Italian Air Force’s acrobatic team, the ‘Frecce Tricolori’. The new M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer) reduces the time required for air forces to train pilots. It also gives trainees the chance to fly an aircraft that features higher performance characteristics than other basic/advanced trainer aircraft currently in service around the world. Delivering high quality training at low cost The performance of the M-345 allows it to carry out the most demanding mission types found in a training syllabus, delivering high quality training at significantly lower cost. The M-345 cockpit architecture is the same as that of frontline fighters. The aircraft is also able to perform operational roles, thanks to an extended flight envelope, with a high-speed maneuvering capability even at high altitudes, modern avionics systems, high load capacity and performance. Health and Monitoring Usage System The M-345 is designed with a long life-cycle and a two-level approach to maintenance The M-345 is designed with a long life-cycle and a two-level approach to maintenance, eliminating the need for expensive general overhauls. The aircraft’s Health and Monitoring Usage System (HUMS) also contributes to a lower cost of ownership. A sophisticated on-board training simulator confers a number of benefits. For instance, M-345 pilots are able to plan maneuvers before live training, allowing for higher efficiency during flight. Mission Planning and Debriefing Station Trainees are also able to fly in formation with other pilots in the air and those training on the ground in simulators, via a real-time data-link. The aircraft’s Mission Planning and Debriefing Station (MPDS) allow trainees to analyse the missions they have just flown. The M-345’s engine is a Williams FJ44-4M-34 turbo fan optimised for military and aerobatic use. The cockpit is based on HOTAS (Hands-On-Throttle-And-Stick) controls and features a glass cockpit with a three-colour MFD (Multi-function Display) touch screen. The aircraft’s heads-up display is mirrored on a fourth screen in the rear seat.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the new International Flight Training School was carried out at the Italian Air Force’s base in Decimomannu, located in Sardinia, Italy. Italian Defence Undersecretary Hon. Giulio Calvisi, the Sardinian Region’s Governor Hon. Christian Solinas, Italian Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Enzo Vecciarelli, Italian Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Alberto Rosso, Leonardo Chairman Luciano Carta, Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo and Marco Zoff, Leonardo Aircraft MD, were among the attendees at the ceremony. International Flight Training School The International Flight Training School (IFTS) is the result of a strategic collaboration between the Italian Air Force and Leonardo, which is aimed at the establishment of an advanced flight training centre. This initiative will become an international benchmark for military pilots’ training, particularly in the advanced phase of training future fighter pilots. International Flight Training School brings a very high level of technological innovation and cutting-edge training skills" Luciano Carta, Chairman of Leonardo, said “The International Flight Training School brings a very high level of technological innovation and cutting-edge training skills, which will contribute to enhancing the role of the Italian Air Force and our Company in an increasingly complex and competitive international context.” Luciano adds “For this reason, Leonardo will provide skills, technology, and innovation to support the creation of the most important training centre for military aviation, a source of pride for Italy, for Europe and for our strategic allies.” Military pilot integrated training systems Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo, said “The International Flight Training School is able to meet the growing demands of the Italian Air Force and partner countries for pilot training. It is a virtuous example of a synergic collaboration between the military and industry, which, in turn, generates an important return for the whole country.” Alessandro adds, “We’ve combined the Italian Air Force’s established know-how and Leonardo’s excellence in military pilot integrated training systems with maximised cost-effectiveness, whilst also strengthening the international role played by Leonardo as a major Training Service Provider.” Pilot training for 4th and 5th gen fighter jets “Today’s groundbreaking ceremony event for the International Flight Training School, though simple and unfortunately with a limited number of authorities attending due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, is an important step in an ambitious international initiative, not only for the Italian Air Force and Leonardo, but also for the entire nation”, said Italian Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Alberto Rosso. The work to build the facilities, which will host a state-of-the-art advanced flight training school, starts at this Airbase today" Alberto Rosso adds, “The work to build the facilities, which will host a state-of-the-art advanced flight training school, starts at this Airbase today. Here is where Italian military pilots, and those pilots from countries who have recognised the quality and effectiveness of our integrated training system, will be trained. An integrated training system developed for those who will fly 4th and 5th generation fighters.” Gen. Rosso continues stating, “The Italian Air Force and Leonardo share expertise and technologies to create, in the most cost-effective way, modern professionals, able to operate and manage increasingly technological and complex aircraft. Competences, quality and long-established experience of both the Air Force and our national industry in the training sector are the best calling card for this excellent training offer.” Leonardo – Italian Air Force strategic partnership Italian Defence Undersecretary, Giulio Calvisi stated, “This is an important project with no less than 20-years of operation ahead, considering the military and industrial efforts devoted to IFTS. The partnership between the Italian Air Force, thanks to its longstanding and solid flight training expertise, and Leonardo as a leader in integrated training, provides evidence of a clear synergy between two Italian excellences.” Giulio Calvisi adds, “A collaboration which, on the one hand, will lead to an increase in the training offer with important local benefits in terms of job opportunities. On the other hand, there is the possibility for Leonardo to attract further foreign investments, strengthening the role and world leadership in this sector.” Ground Based Training System (GBTS) An entire building will be home to the Ground Based Training System (GBTS) With the building of the new International Flight Training School (IFTS) campus headquartered at the Decimomannu Airbase, a true flight training academy will be established. It will be able to host students, technicians, as well as leisure and sports areas, a cafeteria, and maintenance and logistics infrastructures to guarantee the readiness of a 22 M-346 (designated the T-346A by the Italian Air Force) airplane fleet. An entire building will be home to the Ground Based Training System (GBTS), with classrooms and the installation of a modern training system based on the latest generation simulation system. The construction of the IFTS facility will generate positive returns for the local economy and supply chain. M-346-based training syllabus advanced phase Once the construction is complete, the IFTS will achieve operational readiness starting in 2022, creating significant job opportunities locally. With the new Leonardo M-345 arriving soon at the Italian Air Force’s 61st Wing Airbase in Lecce Galatina to replace gradually the T-339A and FT-339C fleets, the M-346-based training syllabus advanced phase will be moved progressively to the Decimomannu Airbase. The Leonardo M-346 is the cornerstone of the Air Force training unit, where many pilots have been trained, not only from Italy but also from a number of other countries, including the United States of America, Spain, France, Austria, The Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, Argentina, Greece and Kuwait, to name a few.
Leonardo has begun the final testing of the C-27J Next Generation which features new equipment, a new avionics system and advanced aerodynamic devices, these will enhance the existing high performance of the aircraft. The first C-27J in the new configuration will be delivered to an undisclosed customer in 2021. Multi-mission capabilities The performance and reliability of the C-27J Spartan continues to evolve as the best response to its customers’ needs. Pushing on the aircraft’s versatility and mission flexibility, the C-27J offers an ever-increasing range of mission solutions, which adapt in response to new challenges faced by operators. A true force enabler, its unrivalled multi-mission capabilities are key in presenting the latest evolution of the Spartan as a cost-effective solution and an intelligent investment for nations, which are selecting it for their military, as well as civil protection requirements. Increased performance and efficiency The enhanced C-27J brings the unrivalled quality and capabilities of the Spartan to the next, higher level" Marco Zoff, Leonardo Aircraft Division’s Managing Director, said: “The enhanced C-27J brings the unrivalled quality and capabilities of the Spartan to the next, higher level. Its operators will benefit from modern avionics, increased performance and efficiency. The Spartan embodies the essence of national security, proving to be the best asset for armed forces’ defence operations and for their fundamental contribution to population support and disaster relief.” In a world hit this year by the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergencies international media have extensively reported on the C-27J’s relentless and effective support to communities in need. Mr. Zoff also added: “Our customers have discovered in this aircraft an element of social inclusion, because it is the only aircraft capable to reach people in the most remote rural areas of their nations.” Improved operational efficiency Leonardo is committed to serving and protecting communities around the world, contributing to their sustainable growth by leading in next generation technologies. Partnering with Governments, private organisations and industries for the best security and safety capabilities is a cornerstone of Leonardo’s BeTomorrow2030 Strategic Plan. Already acknowledged as the most effective multi-mission military transport aircraft in its class, the C-27J Next Generation features comprehensive new avionics and aerodynamic developments with new winglets, for improved operational efficiency and even better performance. Mission-proven across all continents with a number of prime air forces, the Spartan is operated in the world’s most demanding operational environments - from the Andes to Afghanistan - for military transport, cargo and paratroopers air drop, last tactical mile troop support, special operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Taking off from Leonardo’s plant in Caselle (Turin), the final and most advanced Eurofighter Typhoon of the Italian Air Force was handed over during a ceremony becoming one of the defence aircraft assigned daily to the protection of the Italian skies. The ceremony was attended by the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, Gen. Alberto Rosso, the CEO of Leonardo, Alessandro Profumo and the Aircraft Division Managing Director, Marco Zoff. "The collaboration path we are celebrating today, embodied by an aircraft with extraordinary capabilities, is the result of a long-term supranational strategic, political, and industrial vision, which has allowed Europe to have its own security asset, and benefit from a programme that has been able to represent a technological accelerator and a unique engine of development in the history of our continent”, declared Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo. Air defence system “The Eurofighter Typhoon will be a pivotal element in the path of innovation which is aimed at fully safeguarding European technological sovereignty in the coming years", he added. “The delivery of the last aircraft, which completes the Eurofighter fleet, is the main asset of a complex and diversified national and NATO air defence system, is a major programme milestone,” Italian Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Alberto Rosso said at the hand-over ceremony of the aircraft, which is destined to the Italian Air Force’s 51st Wing Istrana Air Base. Intelligence surveillance reconnaissance The aircraft has proven to be a reliable, flexible, and versatile asset, and is ready to face technological challenges" “The aircraft has proven to be a reliable, flexible, and versatile asset, and is ready to face new technological challenges to continue to guarantee the highest level of safety across the Italian skies and protection of national interest. This is thanks to a wide range of operational capabilities which complement air defence duties such as Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) and attack (swing role)." "Today’s aircraft capabilities are the result of a long-term close and effective cooperation between the national defence industry and the Italian Air Force; a synergy that, further supports and empowers the country system, and allows us effectively to carry out our daily mission, the protection of people.” Aerospace and defence technologies The Eurofighter was designed as an open architecture, with a well-defined programme of technological updating and improvement that guarantees its competitiveness throughout its life cycle. Constantly evolving technologies, both on board the aircraft and in the context of logistical support, increase its operational effectiveness, survivability, and efficient management. The Eurofighter programme is a cornerstone in the development of European aerospace and defence technologies and provides the industries involved with technological leadership that will guarantee competitiveness for many next generation programmes. Fundamental avionic technologies Leonardo represents with its activities about 36% of the value of the entire programme, with its key role in the aeronautical components and in the on-board electronics, which sees the Company responsible for two primary sensors (radar and IRST) as well as other fundamental avionic technologies. The Eurofighter programme is managed by the Eurofighter GmbH consortium Leonardo also plays a key role in the evolution of the Eurofighter thanks to the new AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar, which increases the aircraft's performance and competitiveness, which, in turn, will enhance the targeting of a significant proportion of the international market over the next decade. The Caselle plant is now producing the Kuwait Air Force’s Eurofighters, the first ones are to be delivered in this highly advanced configuration. International customers The Eurofighter programme is managed by the Eurofighter GmbH consortium, a company based in Munich (Germany) owned by Leonardo, BAE Systems and Airbus Defense & Space for Germany and Spain. On the government side, it is managed by the NATO Eurofighter & Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), set up to meet the procurement needs of the air forces of the four participating countries: Italy, United Kingdom, Germany and Spain. In addition to the four partner countries, which have already ordered 472 Typhoons, international customers now include: Saudi Arabia (72 aircraft), Austria (15), Oman (12), Kuwait (28) and Qatar (24), a total of 623 ordered planes. In terms of workforce, the Eurofighter programme involves more than 100,000 people in Europe, over 20,000 people are based in Italy (including direct, indirect and induced employment). More than 400 suppliers work for the Typhoon, including 200 in Italy.